Geotechnical Engineering and Asset Management 

 Geotechnical Engineering and Asset Management12

The Geotechnical Engineering research group is a comprehensive team which works closely with Industry to produce unique, world-class knowledge in foundations, soils and geology-related subject. In the railway sector, the group has been involved in research to understand the dynamic load-deformation response and track/sub-base interactions; the design of new and replacement track systems; the development of remediation and maintenance strategies; assessment of track system performance; and the optimisation of whole life and whole system costs.

Current research is using field monitoring, advanced laboratory cyclic and dynamic tests and numerical modelling techniques to assess the potential for an improved geotechnical approach to railway track design and remediation. To this end, work has focused on the design of the track substructure, the ability of structures to withstand train induced dynamic loads and the in-situ remediation of the track support system using non-disruptive ground improvement techniques.

Over the last decade much work has been undertaken to investigate the mechanisms that lead to pumping of fines, the production of wet spots and methods of amelioration. This has led to the development of an “index” test that can be used to assess the effectiveness of using various materials at the subgrade/ballast interface to reduce pumping and the migration of fines.

Current and recent projects

Network Rail
Projects on drainage and track stiffness for improved track behaviour. KTP on migration of fines in the track system.

Rail Research UK
Recent projects have included a study on appraising track/sub-base design using modern geotechnical principles; and the interactions between the ground, track and train systems.

Modelling projects
A recent PhD project has modelled the track-vehicle interaction and made predictions on the effect of ground improvements on the performance of the track system. Following this project, a 6-month consultancy project will focus on the practical implementation of some of the research findings.

Asset Management
Multi-disciplinary projects, involving the Schools of Civil, Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science. Recent projects have included development of a decision-support system for the maintenance of plain line track and a maintenance management tool for light railway systems.

Previous projects

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